La Vita Ristorante Italiano
Level 3, The Podium, ADB Avenue, Ortigas, Mandaluyong City
Contact: (02) 834 1888
Open daily from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.
(SPOT.ph) "We call [this restaurant] La Vita because it means 'the life,'" explains Maurizio Gibillini, Corporate Italian Executive Chef of La Vita Ristorante Italiano. "Food is really part of our life for us in Italy." The topic frequently shifts to food whenever Italians get together, he shares. Originally located in Marina Bay, the Vikings Group-owned venture moved to The Podium in August, giving diners of the area a taste of Italian cuisine in its pristine, authentic state.
As you enter, you are immediately greeted by a deli display showcasing different cold cuts and cheeses. “It’s all imported,” shares Chef Gibillini. “We use local vegetables and fish, but the meat, the cheese, and the oil are all imported.” Hailing from Milan himself, the former Dusit Thani and Pagliacci chef puts great importance on using the best ingredients possible, refusing to make any compromises. “I am very meticulous for quality and freshness,” he admits. “If I don’t have the right ingredients, I don’t cook.”
Dimly lit with a sleek yet cozy ambience and bottles of wine displayed on the walls amidst hues of black and beige, La Vita gives off an elegant feel that might intimidate, but paintings depicting the various sights in Italy balance this out, giving the space a homey touch. And the same can be said for their food: A succinct selection of dishes that might scream fancy at first glance, but deep down embody true-blue Italian comfort.
You can’t go wrong with their pasta, and La Vita covers all the classics—pesto, seafood in tomato sauce, you name it. While most of the pasta dishes employ dried pasta, it’s worth paying special attention to the dishes made with their house-made pappardelle. In the Pappardelle alla Crema di Tartufo (P440), these wide noodles come with a rich porcini mushroom cream, heightened with just the right amount of truffle oil that draws you in from the aroma alone.
Their pizzas are another specialty of the house. La Vita makes their pizza dough fresh every day, using a traditional recipe with just four ingredients: flour, salt, water, and yeast. The pizzas are baked in a wood-fired pizza oven which the team ordered straight from Italy, giving the edges a properly charred, crispy crust. Get the Pizza 4 Formaggi with Chorizo (P440), made with mozzarella, gorgonzola, caciocavallo, and parmesan cheese scented with garlic and given an extra savory touch with piquant chorizo in the center. Or treat yourself to the Pizza con Burrata Fresca (P540)—a fan favorite with tomato sauce, arugula, and a whole ball of burrata cheese in the center for you to cut into and spread all over the pie.
If you must have your rice, La Vita offers a short-but-sweet selection of risotto. And if the carbs aren’t enough, La Vita’s got plenty of meaty options to fill you up. Try the Scaloppine Vari Modi al Marsala (P880), thin slices of tenderloin cooked just until tender and infused with the full-bodied flavor of Marsala wine.
Tempting as it is to go all out, be sure to save room for dessert. Like it creamy? Get the Panna Cotta con Miele al Profumo di Tartufo (P280)—a treat of lightly sweetened and gelled cream served with raspberries and honey for drizzling. And if you’d prefer to go the decadent route, go for the Mousse di Cioccolato (P280), which juggles a light and creamy texture with a deep, dark chocolate flavor that lingers long on the tongue.
Chef Gibillini shares that he has plans of having their homemade pasta available for takeaway, so you can prepare and enjoy it in the comfort of your own home. For now, we’ll take another serving of that truffle pappardelle.
Photos by War Espejo